Crash: The Mystery of Flight 1501 (1990) - full transcript

When a passenger plane crashes after a bomb scare, there are many unanswered questions, which can only be attributed to "pilot error". The pilot's wife, Diane Halstead, is convinced her husband could never have caused the disaster, but nobody will listen to her.

[uplifting music]


[radio chatter]

[radio chatter]

The white zone is for
loading and unloading

passengers only. No parking.

Hand me my bag!

Wait a minute!



God you are relentless,
you know that?

Once you get onto
something you never let it


Well I thought this was
important to both of us!

You know damn well it is.

You don't sound that way.

What are we doing
to each other, Di?

Haven't we been through
enough already?

Look, do you
want to give up?

Do you want to give up? If you
want to give up just tell me.

And then what?

I don't know.

I'll try to -
I don't know!

I'm human, okay?

I have my doubts, it
doesn't mean I'm not


Well I'm sorry!

I have my doubts too, and
maybe I'm just paranoid, I

don't know, it's just when
you want something so much

- But you are not
alone in this, Diane!

It's the two of
us, you and me.



Maybe I'm just
crazy, okay?


I'll tell you something.

One of the best days I can
remember is when you came

to me and said 'Greg,
I'm ready to try again.'


Yes, really, so don't
put me through this!

I don't know why
you put up with me.

Yes you do.


Be careful up there!


You know that.

See you.

Attention please.

ConWest Airlines flight 2412,
Phoenix, is now arriving at

gate 16.

This way please, this way.

[background chatter]

[dogs barking]

Start valve lights.


Electrical system.

Is, uh... Check.

This is the final boarding
call for ConWest Airlines

flight 1501 now
boarding at Gate 19.

I can't believe this.

Okay, honey, you're
right over here.


Good afternoon, Senator.

Hi Senator, my
names Lorraine.

Can I get you
something to drink?

Oh, maybe just
some coffee, hm?

- And you, sir?
- No thanks.

External power APU
ignition is off, gear lights.

Down three green.


We got a low
pressure light here.

The pumps not putting out.


We can go without it.

I know.

Getting all over
us about delays.

Got two backups.

Yeah, but I don't like it.

Good afternoon, ladies and
gentlemen, my name is Greg

Halstead, I'm
your captain.

On behalf of ConWest
Airlines I'd like to

welcome you aboard flight
1501 to Kansas City and

then on to San Francisco.

There's an indication here
on one of our hydraulic

pumps that I don't like.

We're allowed to go with
it, but, uh, I'd prefer not to.

And so in the interest of
safety we are gonna be

delayed here an hour,
maybe an hour and a half.

I hope you understand
this is all in our best

interests, we will
keep you posted to any progress.

In the meantime, thank you
and uh, we appreciate you

flying ConWest.

Sorry Senator.

An hour and a half, I don't

I've got to be in Kansas City by
8 o'clock tonight. Got to be!

Well, there's that United
flight in half an hour.

Of course, we may
have to bump somebody.

Well, what are
we gonna do?

Got to be there. Maybe next
time, sorry.

- Uh, sir?

- Our name is Switzer.
- Yes, Mr. Switzer.

The missus and me got
this bargain flight to

Honolulu, are we
gonna miss it?

We've been planning
this trip for years.

What's your layover time?

In San Francisco? only
about two hours.

Well, you should
be alright.

We'll see what it looks
like when we get to Kansas City.

Uhm... I guess.

Well, now, don't you
worry, one way or another

we'll get you to Honolulu.

[phone ringing]

Hi, this is Diane, and
yes, this is a recording.

Now don't hang up, Greg
and I are out runnin'

around someplace but we'd
still like to hear from

ya, so don't be shy!

Talk as long as you'd
like, and we'll get back

to you as soon as we can.


Hi Di, it's me, if you're
there pick up the phone.

Damn. Really didn't want
to miss you.

Um... We've got a delay here
before we take off and I

just wanted to talk to
you, sort of explain to

you what I'm
going through.

In the first
place, I'm sorry.

Just bear with me about
this pregnancy thing, will you?

Oh, great, he's playing
with my airplanes again.

- It's mine!
- No it's not!

- Yes it is!
- Give it back!

- No!
- Hey come on!

Hey, kids, that's
enough of that!

Make him give me
back my plane!

- It's mine!
- Is not!

Is too, stupid!

Kids, I told you what
would happen if this

happened again,
now in the house!


They had nothing
else to play with.

I'll get this.

Did Greg get off okay?

Yes, as far as I know.

You're ruining my life!

That's what mothers
are for, honey.

You can have these two.

Oh, Diane, I'm sorry.

It's not what
I meant to say.

Dixie, it's been seven
years, you can stop

walking on eggs now, okay?

Come on!


1620, have you hold at
runway 3-5 right, ConWest

1501, you're cleared for
takeoff on runway 3-5

left, wind 0-1-0 at 1-3

- two niner point niner .
- 1501 is on the roll.


[protestors chanting]

There he is!

Senator, hi, I'm Ted Wilbeck,
welcome to Kansas City.

Thank you Mr. Wilbeck,
it's good to be here.

First thing that's
gone right all day.

Our flight was
held up, then we missed

the United flight and I
had to charter a jet!

Taxpayers are
gonna love that.

I misunderstood, we thought
maybe you had took that bomb

threat seriously.

Bomb threat??

Well, that's what they
said, I don't know Senator.

Maybe someone doesn't like your
attitudes about abortions.

Well there's nothing
new about that.

Wait a minute. No one told you?

We got a call at the conference
headquarters here, that said

you'd never made it to Kansas
City and that when you

switched planes, well, we
assumed that --

Did you follow up on it?

We assumed that
your staff did.

Did you warn the airline?

Did anybody?

You mean ConWest?

No, you weren't
on that flight.

Mr. Wilbeck, the bomber if
there is one, doesn't know that.


This is ConWest 1501
answering cell call.

Roger 1501 we have
dispatch on the frequency,

go ahead.

Dispatch this is 1501.

Roger, captain.

We have just received a bomb
threat regarding your plane.

Say again?

You have a possible
bomb on board.

Can you verify
that it's on 1501?

Negative. It's up to you,

Okay. Right then. Keep us


So what do you think?

Cleveland Center this is
ConWest 1501 we have just

received word of a bomb
threat - nearest major


Go ahead 1501.

I request expeditious
clearance to...

- I'd say Dayton.
- Dayton.

How does that look
to you, Center?

Our radar shows a solid
line of thunderstorms,

you're gonna have to pick
your way around them.

Choice of Dayton airport
or Monitor Municipal.

Monitors as good
as any, then.

So what do we tell
the passengers?


Well odds are its
a hoax, right?

No sense sending some poor
soul into cardiac arrest

over nothing.

This is captain Halstead,
I've just punched on the

fasten seatbelt sign,
there's rain showers ahead

and reports of
some turbulence.

We can't fly over this
stuff, but rather than

return to Washington, I've
elected to set us down in

Dayton until this
activity abates.

I know this causes further
delay but under the

circumstances it is the
safest thing to do.

So flight attendants,
please prepare cabin for


Thank you.

Oh, no...

Approach Control, this is
ConWest 1501 descending to

3,000 proceeding direct
to the Monitor Airport.

We are facing some fairly heavy
storm cells between here

and the airport.

If you can, request
radar vectors around the


Cells are building
rapidly in all quadrants.

Looks like the softest
spot might be um...

Turn right heading
0-3-5, uh...

- [thunder crashes]
- and maintain three thousand.


Wait a minute, that puts
us right into a big one.

We show that to be about
the best heading for you


[thunder crashing]

Oh, my god!

Doesn't look
that good to us.

We're gonna maintain
present heading 1-8-0.

According to our radar
that puts you right in the

middle of the
largest cell.

[thunder crashes]

Well, I'm gonna have to
go by what we see here.

Seems to be the best way
to get through this stuff.

Not according to our
radar, but uh, you're the


Maintain heading 1-8-0,
you're clear to land on

runway 1-8.

[thunder, lightning

Flap 15 landing gear down.

[pounding, pulsing music]

Something's wrong here.

I don't like the
looks of this.

Flight attendants
take your seats now.

[nervous chatter]

[children crying]

Oh my god!

Oh, no!

What is it?

Something's screwy here.

- How's 1501 look to you?
- What's he doing?

Big front blowing in from
the east and he's flying

- right into it.
- Not according to his radar.

That the guy
with the bomb?

Right, he's
coming in on 1 8.


I'm gonna scramble
crash trucks.

Oh, boy.

1501, we're now sure
you're in the worst of it.

Oh my god!

It's okay, we'll be on
the ground in a minute.

Damn, where did this
thing come from?

Come on, it's - boy
its a rough one.

Scramble crash equipment
to runway 18, scramble

crash equipment
to runway 18.

[sirens blaring]

[warning sounds]

We've lost
number 2 engine!

Damn, too much water!

Maybe not!

Try an air start!

[people screaming in fear]

Pull up, pull up, pull up.


pull up, pull up, pull up.


1501? 1501? 1501? 1501? 1501?

[plane exploding]

I got a crash on the
airport, runway is closed,

airport is closed,
airport is closed.

All aircraft on this
frequency stand by.

We have an emergency,
you will be directed to

another airport,
this airport's closed.

[fire crackling,
sirens wailing]

Look at this.

Especially the overhead
bins, melting, dropping

onto the passengers.

The plastic trims
putting out, what?

Well, smoke, ammonia,
cyanide, all kinds of

lethal gases.

This stuff is
killing people!

Wes Goddard here. Yeah. Where?
ConWest Air?

Pam and Bob are with me
now, notify the rest of

the go team will ya? Right, bye.

We've got a DC 9
down, Dayton Ohio.

We're on our way.

Where do you think
you're going?

Home to bed and
don't try to stop me.

I wouldn't dream of it. They've
got beds in Dayton.

Dayton, what does Dayton
have to do with --

We've got a plane down, 100
fatalities, maybe more, the

news director wants you on
the air in five minutes

for a special news bulletin.

I need everything we know
and quick, and keep the

information coming.

I want to leave for the crash
site as soon as we finish here.

Have our satellite feed
set up and hot by the time

we get there, and tell em
to make sure the wreckage

is in the background. And

I can't believe I forgot Greg
told me that spare was flat.

Listen, if I say something
you won't get mad at me?

No! Why?

You're such a private
person in some ways.

Dixie, come on!

What does Greg have
to say about all this?

Oh, he just bawled me out
for not believing in him.

I guess we are both still a
little sensitive about...

Well you know when Mary
Anne died, you have no

idea what we went
through together.

But that's the point, we
went through it together.

You've had, what? Two

And then this perfectly
beautiful little girl that --

You can say it, you know... Crib

Do you have any idea what
the, what the odds are

against two consecutive
crib deaths?

I'd just never forgive
myself if I didn't try again.

I'm ready, I'm ready
emotionally, I...

I really want to have
another child.

Is this the same Diane
Halstead who swore to me

that she was through
with all that?

Well like you said that
was seven years ago, I...

Time changes things.

Would be fun.

Oh my god.

Oh my god.

- Is he dead?
- Diane!

Is he dead or
alive just tell me!

The only information we
have is that the plane

went down outside
of Dayton.

No no, he was going
to Kansas City.

They had to divert, some
kind of bomb threat, Diane

I'm sorry.

I have to... I have to see him,
I have to go there!

We'll get you there!

[people yelling,
fire crackling, sirens blaring]

[directions, orders being


Air Force is here!

You gotta move it!

Put out the fuselage
I gotta get in there!

We gotta see what's
in there, let's go, come on!

Lieutenant, you alright?

No I'm not, I need more
portable lights set up

over here, over here, here, and
one back by the tail

section, back there, the command
post is fine where it is.

Let's go get
it set up here!

God almighty!

Come on!

Lieutenant what
can we do for you?

Well I need a staging
area set up here.

There's gonna be a lot of
vehicular traffic coming

through. Somebody check

Sir, we can handle that.

A hospital, anybody
heard from them?

They're coming in now.

Alright we gotta clear a
path to the ambulance.

Right, what about
the news people?

Ah, to hell with the news.

Excuse me whose the
on scene commander?

I am for now anyway.

What can I do for you?

Special agent Bryce, FBI,
we were told there was a

bomb threat involved.

That's right.

We're gonna have to
secure the area then.

Well wait a minute here.

Who are those
people over there?

What the hell
are they doing?

CIA. Something about top secret
cargo, that's all I know.

Mueller, get into that.

I don't want anything
removed until we've

completed our investigation.

Christ, we're looking
for survivors here.

I understand, but this is
a possible crime scene and

all this could be evidence.

Look if it's a matter of
jurisdiction --

No, no, rescue operations come
first, of course, let's

just try to stay out of
each others way, that's all.

[men yelling directions]


There's children,
they, they were...

Where'd you come from?

Um, sir, excuse me, what
are you doing here?

I've looked everywhere!

Sir you don't understand
this is a secured area,

you're not supposed to - wait a
minute, were you on the plane?

Plane? No, no, my shoe,
my other shoe.

We got a survivor here!

Sir, if you come
along with me.

Without my shoe?

Uh huh, this way.

There seemed to
be two factors.

One is a bomb threat, and
the other - this isn't at

all clear yet.

Are we on?

Excuse me I learned that
we just have picture.


As I was saying there
was something about

thunderstorms and confusion in
the cockpit of the plane.

I'm not sure what that means,
I'll have to trace that down.

As to survivors, only
one is confirmed at this point.

- Nickerson?
- Yeah?

- It's Chet, you got the TV on?
- No, why?

A plane just went
down in Dayton.

No kidding.

We're talking a hundred
and thirty people, and I

want you to fly in there
ASAP and I don't care what

it takes just get down
there and start digging around.

- Any survivors?
- So far only one.

Okay I'll start with the
hospital. You coming with me?

No, no, I'll drive
down tomorrow.

You go ahead and get
started without me.

- This could be a big one right?
- Yeah, I know.


Hey there's
somebody in there!


Don't know!

Who is it, can you tell?

Can't get at him, he's
got a uniform though!

Hydraulic pump, bring
him in here let's go!

I need a torch right away,
get it in here.

[somber music]

- Mrs. Halstead?
- Yes.

Hi, I'm Marge Vale. Did you get
the word?

No, nothing. Why, what is it?

Well we don't know much,
except your husband's alive.

- Alive?
- Yes.

Are you alright?

Yes, it was just... It was the
not knowing.

- How, how bad is it?
- I have no idea.

Can I see him?

- Howard!
- Wes!

- Good to see you.
- This is everybody?

No, no, no, more on the way.

Howard, you don't know these

- Pam Hayes, survival factors,
- Hi.

Bob Stanton, hazardous
materials division.

And of course there's
this poor soul.

Scott Cody, Howard,
how you doing?

Howard's our local guy.

Pleasure, uh, poor soul?

Oh, he's just jealous.

Scott seems to think
that I envy pilots.

I see, Airline
Pilots Association.

They're an
insufferable bunch.

So, how's it look
out there, Howard?

- Pretty bad.
- Survivors?

So far just two, a
passenger and a captain.

Out of how many?

- 130, maybe.
- Oh, god, that's awful.

You want to get
checked in first?

No let's get
out to the site.

Look it, if the pilot's still
alive I want to go and see him.

It's me, hun. Can he hear me?

I never for a minute
believed this could ever happen.

Could, could we be alone?

Could I be alone with
him just for a minute?

I'm not gonna let you go. I mean

Come back to me. Please.

Doctor Carmine, 4-5-2-3,
Doctor Carmine, 4-5-2-3.

Mrs. Halstead?


I'm Scott Cody,
how's he doing?

I don't know, he, uh,
it's pretty scary.

How are you doing?

Who did you say you were?

Scott Cody, I'm your
ALPA representative.

- Airline Pilots Association.
- Yeah.

- You know my husband?
- No, we've never met.

- Look, Mrs. Halstead,
- Call me Diane.

Okay. Diane.

Is there anything that the
association can do for you?

You got a room, you
need a place to stay?

No, I'm gonna stay right here.

Is there anything I can
do for you personally?

Yeah, you can tell me
what the hell happened.

[somber music]




Hey Goddard! Goddard!

Well, I guess
we're outta here.

Any equipment you're
gonna be needing?


I very much appreciate
your help, Lieutenant.

What'd we do?

Doused a few fires, find
a couple of survivors?

- Wish to God it had been more.
- Thanks.

Wes, look who's here.

Sergeant! How'd that man get in

The priest?

Let him in myself, he's
giving last rites, why?

Because he's not a
priest, grab him!

- You're kidding?
- I'm quite serious.

Sergeant, we mean
it, stop him!

Hey you! Get that man!

Hey! Stop! Hold it!

Hey! 'Scuse me!

This area is restricted. Special
Agent Bryce, FBI.

Wes Goddard, National
Transportation Safety Board.

I'm the investigator in charge.
This is Stanton and Hayes.

I suppose you're looking
for the black boxes?

Actually we were wondering
about this CIA business?

No trace of them yet. The boxes,
that is.

Probably still in
the tail section.

We could pull them out
for you, if you like.

No thanks, I've had a
little practice, I think

we can handle it.

Don't get huffy,
just trying to help.

Tell us about
this CIA thing.

Well I guess possessions
still nine-tenths of the law.

And what's that mean?

Apparently they came right
in with the crash wagons,

makes you wonder where
they got their info, right?

Anyway they cleared out
before anyone could stop them.

- With what?
- I don't know. Top secret.

Spy stuff, maybe. You know how
they are about those things.

I uh, I hope we're
not in your way here.

As a matter of
fact you are.

Well you won't get too
uptight if we try to do

our job, will ya?

We tend to get a little

if we can't go to work.

Well I don't know, FBI has
a little investigation of

it's own to do first.

Then do the people of the
United States a favor,

Bryce, try not to disturb
this scene too much, we

gotta find out why
that plane went down.

Aren't we touchy.

Damn business is tough
enough without his attitude.

Well well, look here.

Know this guy do ya?

Hello Ash.

I thought you were still
serving five to ten in Joliet.

Well you gotta know
how to use the system.

What's he got on
him, Sergeant?

I don't know, cash, a lot
of jewelry, I haven't

counted it yet.

Yeah well his last haul
was fifteen thousand.

You know Ash, I spotted
you fifty yards away.

If you're gonna persist
in this line of work I

strongly suggest you
consider plastic surgery.

Might be an improvement.


Wes, we're gonna
go on ahead.

Yeah, we've set up a
temporary morgue in hangar 5,

we'll be out of your
way as soon as we can.

Good, look I hate to ask you
this but try to keep your

people from kicking
the tin around, okay?

It's important to document the
exact location of the wreckage.

In some cases even the
smallest little fragment

can tell a big story.

I don't know how to
describe what I am seeing here.

Just total devastation
everywhere you look.

Bodies, fragments of
bodies, luggage, wreckage

of the plane itself strewn
for nearly half a mile.

The furrows in the earth
indicate the wings struck

the ground at a steep
angle, but why?

We know there was
a bomb threat.

Some eye witnesses say
they saw an explosion,

others saw lightning
strike the plane.

One claimed an
engine was on fire.

These, I'm sorry to say,
are not extraordinary

events, but one thing is.

According to air traffic
control, the pilot,

captain Gregory Halstead
refused, actually refused

to follow their
instructions, and flew

into the most dangerous
part of the storm.

Of course, that is when
the plane went down.

So it seems to me that
federal investigators have

their hands full.

All we can do at this point is
await further developments.

This is Spence Ullman
for your news watch.

The pilot's from
Virginia right?

How are your
contacts there?

Pretty good. If not, I'll make
some. Why?

The pilot. Arguing with the
tower? Never heard of that.

Possible bomb aboard? Flying in
dangerous weather?

And argues with the tower.

There's gotta be a
story behind that.

I want to know about that
man, I mean everything.

Okay I'll get on it.

The NTSB press
conference is tonight!

A push like that is gonna cost.

Who cares? This is hardball.

I want the goods and
I want it honest.

I know that tone of voice.

You smell blood,
don't you?

Look, everybody's got something
to hide, including Halstead.

Dig it out! I want it.

I don't envy you, this. How's it

We're just swamped. We're all on
overload here.

But we'll do what we can.

Look, what about
the families?

They're arriving in
bunches now and they all

want on the site.

They seem to think they can help
with the identification.

- Can they?
- No, not really.

I haven't got that much
faith in eyeball ID anyway

and besides the
bodies are unviewable.

Then tell them that,
hope they'll understand.

- Here's something.
- Ah, you recognize that?

Part of our uniform. That would

Whoever was in the
galley jump seat.

Oh, god. Lorraine, oh no.

Oh, oh you knew her.

- How's it going, chief?
- You tell me.

We pulled the black boxes,
they look pretty good.

Cool, get them
back to Washington.

Long gone.

Hey, something moved!




Oh my god. It's a dog!

We're gonna have
to cut it out.

- Hurry!
- [dog whining]



Tell me sir, do you have
any family or friends out here?

Here? No, nobody.

Well, who's looking
out for you then?

Oh they're all
very nice here.

I mean personally?

Who's looking out
for you personally?

Well, I'm... I was gonna say Em
but she's...

Your wife?

I was right there and I still
don't believe what happened.

That's where we
come in Mr. Switzer.

We can help with that.

If you take a look at that
card there, you can see I

work for a law firm.

Law firm? What's that got to do
with me?

We're deeply
concerned about you.

Matter of fact, Mr. Harmon
himself is coming down

here just to see you and I
think you should talk to



Honey, I'm right here. I'm right
here, honey.

I'm right here.

Guess we got a hold
up problem here.

We can handle it.

What did you say?

I said we can handle it.

- I like that 'we.'
- So do I.

You alright?

I guess this is not
one of my better days.


Honey this is Scott Cody.


How you doing, skipper?

It's a bitch. I killed all those

No, I kinda doubt it, you got an
outstanding flight record.

Last thing I remember is
hitting that storm cell,

and then, all goes.

Well don't you worry
about that now, huh?

Probably the medication,
it'll come back to ya.

I thought you didn't
know my husband?

Or were you just saying
that about his flying ability?

Nope, got his training history
and all his flight records.

That was quick.

Well, the airline
sent it over.

Diane, I think you ought
to know that we're going

to be going into his
entire background and

releasing that
to the media.

Good. I want people to know
about him.

You'll get your shot,
we'll be taking a

deposition from you and
uh, it'll get pretty personal.

Particularly about the
last forty-eight hours, so

I'm afraid you won't have
much privacy for a while.

- Who's we?
- Myself and some NTSB people.

I thought you were the
pilot's association.

Yes I am.

You see, NTSB has to run
the investigation that's

the law, I represent the
pilots as an invited guest.

I offer whatever expertise I can
and try to protect our side.

And what side is that?

The truth. Whatever that may be.

I went through that crash
like it was nothing.

Wife dying and all.

For some reason it just
never really hit me.

And I'm wondering 'what the
hell's wrong with me' you know?

And then last night I went
through that crash all

over again, I mean I
really went through it,

and not just once. Each time it
got worse.

- Am I losing my mind?
- No, not at all.

It's called post impact
trauma, Mr. Switzer.

It can happen
to most anybody.

I'm not sure I can
handle all this.

No, of course not. What you
need is professional help,

and that's what I'm here for.

Well, I don't know.

A while ago, an insurance
guy was in, he said he'd

- take care of all that.
- What insurance guy?

Uh, airline I think. Real nice
guy. Real considerate.

'Nice'? You know, the company
that this man represents

Mr. Switzer is gonna start
poking around in your

private life to see if
you've got anything to hide.

Then they're gonna use it
against you to keep you

from taking them to court.

Oh yes, yes, they
can really do that.

Courts? Boy. I don't know.

Well, you stick with me,
Mr. Switzer, there ain't

gonna be any courts.

Hey, I can't
afford no lawyer.

You don't understand.

Mr. Switzer, you and your
wife bought a ticket to

get from point A to point
B but you never made it,

and the fault lies
with the airline.

So they pay.

They pay you and
then they pay me.

It's as simple as that.

So what do you say? What do you

You know, this happens
every single time.

You want the cause
of the crash?

Well if we knew that, we
wouldn't even be here.

But surely you
have some idea.

And that's the other
thing, you want us to speculate.

We don't do that.

Board policy is to issue
statements of fact, period.

Now, if you wish to draw
conclusions from those

facts, you're
free to do so.

What about the bomb threat
on Senator Charleston?

That's under the FBI's
jurisdiction, they've

launched their usual
thorough investigation.

- And?
- So far, nothing conclusive.

Mr. Zullman?

According to my sources,
the pilot has no

recollection of the
crash, is that accurate?

The last thing he remembers is
penetrating the cell, yes.

Well, did he say anything about
his argument with the tower?

I wouldn't characterize
it as an argument.

You wouldn't? Have you run the

- Several times.
- Then what would you call it?

I'd say two
individuals operating with

conflicting information.

And one of them
had to be wrong.

- That's your opinion.
- Oh, come on now.

WE all know the towers
information was correct.

That pilot flew directly
into a storm cell.

The most dangerous
cell in the area.

Mr. Zullman, that particular
pilot has accrued a total of

fifteen thousand flying
hours, the last two

thousand of which were
in this aircraft type.

Let me tell you about
that particular pilot,

Mr. Goddard.

There is an experimental
drug called Procolene used

to increase sexual potency.

This drug has not been
approved by the FDA, but

apparently that didn't
matter to that pilot of

yours because at the time of the
flight he was on that drug.

We have no such

Well I do, and I
can document it.

- How's he doing?
- About the same.

What's the matter?

We gotta talk. What is this
Procolene stuff?

- How do you know about that?
- What is it, Diane?

I don't think it's
any of your business.

You know better than that.

Alright, it was
prescribed by a doctor.

- Airline doctor?
- No, Doctor Breck.

He said try it, maybe
it will help solve the problem.

What problem?

We're -- I'm trying to
conceive alright?

That depends, does the airline
know that he's on this stuff?

- No.
- And why not?

Because Procolene's
harmless, it's like, it's

like taking aspirin.

Who says?

Dr. Breck. And I was there!

Greg said, 'hey doc, is
this drug legal, is it

gonna affect my flying, is
it gonna make me drowsy or

dizzy or anything?' And he said
absolutely not.

It's been prescribed by
doctors for fifteen years.

There's nothing dangerous
in this, Scott.

Greg would have known,
I would have known.

And Greg would never have
gotten on an airplane,

that's how he is.

Who is this Dr.
Breck anyway?

He's a fertility

I have trouble conceiving
and on top of that, Greg's

sperm count is down.

And you look totally

Who put you onto
this anyway?

Spence Zullman. And it was
carried nationwide.

Now I don't know how many
people saw it but I do

know this - they heard
only one thing: the pilot

of Flight 1501
was on drugs.

What are these
people thinking?

How can they get
away with this?

Di, I don't remember the crash.

I was not drug crazed,
that much I do know.

Oh but you were, that's
why you can't remember.

That's what they're all
saying, and the one's who

aren't saying it
are thinking it.

Zullman sure knows how to
stack the deck, doesn't he?

Take it easy, it's just one more
problem for us to solve.

We'll get through this
one too, you'll see.

- You promise?
- You doubting me again?

No, sir. Never again.

That's good, because I am
going to walk out of here

and fly ten million more
miles and we're gonna have

babies by the... houseful.

Houseful? I'd settle for one.

You look so tired.

Guess I wasn't as
convincing as I thought.

Oh, come on. You've never lied
to me before.

We've been
lucky, you know?

- The two of us?
- I know.

It's like a tape, I can
look back at my whole

life, I mean
the whole thing.

If you Fast Forward it, it's

It's just like a
rollercoaster with ups,

downs, trying to stay alive.
Maybe accomplish something.

- What have I accomplished?
- Well, you got stuck with me.


You're not gonna get out of it
either. I need you, kiddo.

You're life and breath to
me, so, just knock off

this past tense
stuff okay? I don't like it.


Alright, Mr. Lindenwood is
going to feed the flight

recorder data into our
computer and come up with

a visual reconstruction
of the crash.

You mean we'll be able to
sit down and watch it,

actually watch
the crash happen?

That's right, this
particular flight recorder

tracks -- what, Bob, seventy
three different functions?

To name a few, altitude,
angle of attack, pitch,

roll, magnetic heading,
position of control

surfaces, thrust,
hydraulic pressures.

Et cetera, all
in binary code.

What about the cockpit
voice recorder?

Via the black box.
People I'm sorry to have

to tell you we've lost
the golden nugget.

Oh, what? Why, what happened?

Sometime before impact,
three circuit breakers

popped simultaneously, wouldn't

Moment later no cockpit mic.

There anything on that
alleged secret cargo?

Isn't that a mess?

You know, it's worse
than you think. It's CIA stuff.

They've got some kind of
spy satellite, maximum

security clearance is required
and all that.

Bob, this is critical. We've got
to know what was in that crate.

Well we may get
that chance.

The Department of Defense
lawyers got into it.

Oh those guys.

Apparently they're
working on some kind of

compromise, they might even
make it available to us.

They're gonna be on
our side for once?

Hope springs eternal.

So what you're saying is
something's in the works, right?

- Right.
- Good.

Stanton, what have you got?

Well, we had a fire.

Apparently post-crash,
fuel-fed, it had to be really.

Minimal damage except in
the fore and mid cargo

compartments, it got a
little hotter in there.

Anything significant in that?

Nah, I don't think so.

The wing tank ruptured
right next to it.

Post crash fire.

Alright, so much for that.

What brought the
plane down, folks?

We're running out of
possibilities here.

Unless of course there
was a bomb on board.

Mr. Bryce, the FBI got
a position on that yet?

Well, we found
no structural revelations.

Since then we've looked
everywhere for explosion

signatures, chemical
residues, labs been over

everything including
seat and carpet samples.

- In short --
- About time.

We found nothing that
would not be there naturally.

Don't suppose there's
another way to put that?

We found no evidence
of sabotage.

You can rule out a bomb.

- And that's official.
- It's official.

Thank you. Which brings us to
the drug thing.

We have that, Wes. Where is,

Pam, could you help me
out, could I see your D file?

- Yeah.
- We ran a tox on the pilot, now

this stuff was in his system so
we telephoned the

pharmaceutical company
and they faxed us all the

critical data
on Procolene.

Are we in trouble on that?

No no, we ran a
pretty good study.

We're satisfied Procolene has no
adverse affects on performance.

You mean there's no
drug crazed pilot?

There's nothing
blatantly abnormal here.

Of course that's not
what Zullman says.

Wes, we could question
the pilot's judgement.

Flying into an ominous
cloud on final approach.

Could just be a
wind shear accident.

Oh come on Scotty.

The controllers specifically
vectored him away from

that cell and yet he flew
right into it anyway.

That's a judgement
problem and you know it.

Pilot error. What else is there?

No bomb aboard, no structural
failure, no in-flight fire.

If you've got a better
answer, let's have it.

Overhead bins opened up,
and all that stuff started

flying around, hitting people.

I seen one of them stewardesses,
I saw her face,

and she was really scared.

That's when I knew we was
really in for something.

Is this kinda
what you want?

Doing fine, Mr. Switzer, just
whatever you remember, okay?

It was rough, and we was
getting jerked from side

to side, and I looked out
the window cause I could

hear that engine
changing pitch, down.

Which side of the
plane was that?

The left side.

And then we started
tipping down, and then my

side of the plane went
over, and then all of a

sudden we just rolled over, and
just like that, over and down.

And I told myself 'this
is it, this is as far as

we're gonna go, right
here,' and I looked at Em

there, and she's looking
back at me, perfectly calm.

I'll never get over that.

And then we hit the
ground, and my seatbelt,

liked to cut me in half,
and my guts is up in my

mouth, and that stuff
just hit me in the face.

What stuff was that?

Well, it was like gravel,
and it was hot, real hot,

and then it was
dark, black.

And that seatbelt was
really hurting so I popped

it open and then I'm
falling through the air,

and I realized I'd been upside

I hit the bottom and I'm
yelling for Em, feeling

all around, and it's
dead quiet in there.

Smoke and all,
lots of smoke.

Sheesh. I had to get out of

Um, you got out of the
plane, obviously, um...

- Do you remember how?
- No, I can't.

I remember being in this
field and there's this guy

sitting there in his seat,
then I started seeing

lights and then people are
coming, and I said 'hey

fella, come on, you can
get up now, it's all over!'

And I walked around
in front to see him.

And there's this,
there's this... I'm sorry.

There's this big chunk of
plane just sticking...

Would you like a
break, Mr. Switzer?

Them rescue people, I gotta tell
ya, they're something else.

In my book, everyone
of 'em's a hero.

Let's, let's take a minute. Let
me get you some coffee.

How come I'm still alive? Will
you answer me that?

Em is sitting right next
to me, you know how tight

them coach seats is. Why her,
instead of me?

Can you answer me that,
for God's sakes, I can't...


May I see your ID, sir?

Let's get this
thing going, huh?

Bit testy this morning, are we?
Better get you back to bed.

Okay, firing up the radar.

Since we don't have any
storm cells handy I parked

that flying classroom
out there as a stand in.

- How's it read to you?
- It's a reasonable facsimile.

Makes a good return, sure.

Dr. Van Buren!

Will you fire up that
bogey you've got over

there or whatever it is that
nobody else can look at but you?

Sour grapes, Mr. Goddard?


It is now powering up.

It's gonna take a few
seconds to stabilize though.

Should lock in... about... now.

[beeping radar]

Dr. Van Buren, you wanna
turn that thing on and off

a couple of times?


Now back on.

You're not supposed to
ship live electronic

equipment in a plane,
that's strictly forbidden.

Now do you know anything
about rise times, square

waves, anything like that?

Not a clue.

Alright, inside of this
CIA thing, there is a, some

kind of a continually
changing code.

It's built in so that it can't
be compromised by the enemy.

Apparently this causes
it to broadcast odd harmonics.

Now the trouble is, these
harmonics interfere with

the key frequencies used to

radar equipment in the nose.

And you're not following
any of this are you?

Nary a syllable.

Alright. What it amounts to is,
this spy stuff skewed

Greg's radar.

Not all the time, just
some of the time, and one

of those times happened
to be when he was on his

final approach
coming into Dayton.

Are you telling me, are
you telling me that the

- radar lied to him?
- Yeah you could say that.

It told him that the storm
cell was thirty degrees

out of position, and
that's why he flew

straight into it.

He thought he was avoiding
the cell when in fact, he --

He flew straight into it.


Oh, thank god. Thank god, Scott.

It was the one thing I
couldn't understand, it

just didn't make any sense
to me, him flying into a

storm cell.

He just... he wouldn't do that.

I can't wait to tell him,
you know he, he halfway

believes he
crashed that plane.

Hold on, slow down now.

Why? You just said that
radar was compromised.

Well there's a little
more to it than that.

For instance?

The plane came down at
an unusual attitude.

What does that mean?

- You want it straight?
- Yes.

It's beginning to look
less and less like a wind

shear accident.

SO what is it then?

Way it looks now, but this is
just now, mind you, and

regardless of the radar
thing --

Don't say pilot error to me.

You said you wanted it straight.

That's what
you're thinking?

That's what they're
all thinking?

Fine. You're wrong.

Several days after the
crash, the grim task of

identifying the victims
of ConWest flight 1501


Refrigerated trucks are
being used to store the

dead until the team of
pathologists, assembled

from Ohio, Pennsylvania,
and Illinois, finish

performing the autopsies.

Several dozen grieving relatives
of the crash victims visited a

hangar at the airport to
claim the luggage of their

loved ones.

As the family members
walked out of the hangar,

suitcases in hand, some
had to be helped after

breaking down.

[crying, sobbing on TV]

Georgia Kimm reporting
from Dayton.

Here she comes now,
here she comes.

Mrs. Halstead!

Please, please, ladies and
gentlemen! Let us through!

All your questions will be
answered in due course!

Everyone please take your seat.

Everyone now please sit down.

Thank you.

I'd like to introduce
Diane Halstead, the wife of

Gregory Halstead, the
pilot of flight 1501.

She has a statement she
would like to make.

Mrs. Halstead, does the
airline know your husband

was on drugs?

Excuse me Mr. Zullman I
said she has a statement

to make, the floor is
not open to questions.

That's alright. I'd like to
answer that.

As a matter of fact
I'm glad he asked.

My husband was not on drugs,
plural, Mr. Zullman. Only one.

Procolene. He was taking
it in the hopes we might

have a child.

Were you aware that this drug
was not approved by the FDA?

No, our doctor said it was no
more harmful than aspirin.

He's been giving it to
his patients for years.

Was the airline
aware of this?

No I just told you,
Procolene is not dangerous.

Well that's one opinion.

It's not an opinion,
Mr. Zullman, it's

established fact.

Procolene has been available
worldwide as Gexistran.

It's been on the FDA approved
list for over fifteen years.

It's used to increase
blood circulation.

The only known side
effects are dry skin and

the possibility of
increased male fertility.

And to my knowledge,
Mr. Zullman, neither of

these things has brought
down an aircraft.

I think you knew that.

I think you knew the truth
about Gexistran and I

think it is totally
irresponsible of you to

sensationalize all this
and say that my husband

was on drugs.

I stand by my story, your
husband was on Procolene

and Procolene has been
rejected by the FDA.

It was not rejected, Mr.
Zullman, it hasn't been

accepted yet,
there's a difference.

It's still being tested
for it's effectiveness on

male potency.

What I'm trying to say to
you is it does not produce

drug crazed pilots.

Well I hate to state
the obvious here --

Mr. Zullman, I think the
lady has answered your

question, now that's enough.
Please, go ahead.

At 5:31 this morning, my
husband succumbed to crash

induced injuries.

He died not knowing, he
died not knowing how or

why his plane went down,
or what, if any part he

played in that tragedy.

My husband was a wonderful
pilot, especially in

emergencies, and his
concern was always for the

safety of his passengers.

Unfortunately, there's
been growing speculation

over what is being called
'pilot error.' I know my

husband, and I know that he did
not cause that plane to crash.

And I will not rest until
I find the real cause.

Thank you, that's all.

Mrs. Halstead, you said during
emergencies, what emergencies?

You'll have to excuse me.

I have a funeral to
arrange and a plane to catch.

Mrs. Halstead, if I could
just one further --

Where the hell is your
sense of decency?

Now that's it!

Looks like pilot error.

Yeah, pilot error. I mean I
don't know now.

The guys dead, what are
we gonna do with that?

Well if he can't defend himself,
it can only help us, right?

Yeah, but to do what?

Beat up on a dead guy, sue
the widow, take away her house?

Nobody wants that. There's no
money in that anyway.

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Look, the airline, that is
the deep pocket, the only

deep pocket, and we gotta
make them culpable and I

mean bulletproof. You
understand? A bulletproof case.

I don't know, Chet. Airline's
got a pretty good out.

They've even heard
about the drugs.

Yeah? Wife said that,
didn't she?

I mean it struck me odd, the
minute it came out of her mouth.

I mean who would volunteer
information like that?

Nobody's that honest. Put us
right in the toilet too.

Dammit. I don't like the way
it's going, Nick.

- I feel naked as hell.
- Why?

Well I'm being interviewed
tonight, remember?


Well, this is national
coverage, I may not get

another shot like it.

I need something sensational and
I haven't got it.

Come on, what do
you call Switzer?

One survivor out of 128
people and we got him.

For once the heavyweights
are all out in the cold.

Blew us right out of the water.
How could she?

Maybe she's not
that honest.

What are you
talking about?

Well, depends.

See, if it comes back
pilot error, forget

pensions and benefits.

The airline has a cutoff clause?

Oh yeah.

Schlock airline. Smart contract
though, huh?

Could save
ConWest a bundle.

Yeah, send the widow
right up the... Hold it there.

Oh no they don't, not
to me they don't.

I'm gonna shoot this
right back in their face.

You've said some
interesting things here,

somewhat hypothetical.

You're accusing her of, what?
Collusion? Conspiracy?

Hey Paul, I am just
asking --

- [phone ringing]
- Hello?

It's Cody, what
are you doing?

- Packing.
- Turn on channel 41.

I have a plane to catch.

No, there's something
you oughta see.

- Scott!
- Just turn it on.

But we have got 127, well
128 dead, now, I mean 128

people dead. Who is responsible?

Still sounds like an
accusation to me. But go ahead.

Alright, I'll ask
another question.

If you were the widow and
you knew that you were about to

lose all your pension and
benefits and the airline

comes to you and says 'we
would like to offer you a

deal,' would you listen?


Is this just speculation
or do you have --

Understand now, I am
not accusing anyone of

anything, all I am saying
is there are certain

questions that
need answers.

Now suppose you were the
widow, the airline comes

to you they say 'look, we
want to restore all your

pensions and benefits
and maybe slide a little

something under the
table, all you gotta do in

return is say 'we don't
know anything about the

drugs.'' Well? Is that
a good deal?

I mean would you say yes
to a thing like that?

I am still so angry, just can't
believe that bastard Harmon.

You'd think he'd at least
wait until after the funeral.

Oh I don't know, I think
maybe he did me a favor.

How in the world
can you say that?

Oh, when all the aviation
experts gang up on you and

they all tell you you're
wrong, you start to think

you're wrong.

But now, by God, Harmon made
me angry, and I'll tell ya

something else, I'm
not wrong about Greg. I'm not!

He did not cause
that plane crash.

And starting tomorrow,
somehow, I'm gonna prove

that he didn't do it.

Well I still think that
Harmon should be lynched.

Hell, that wouldn't hurt either.
I'll call you tomorrow.

Are you gonna be alright?

Thanks for the lift.

[melancholic music]


Mrs. Halstead, this is
Judy from the dental

office, I'm just calling
to remind you of your

appointment on Thursday. See you

Hi Di, it's me. If you're there
pick up the phone.

Ah, damn. Didn't want to miss

Um, we've got a delay here
before we take off and I

just wanted to talk to you.

Sorta explain to you
what I'm going through.

In the first place,
I'm sorry, and...

just bear with me about
this pregnancy thing, will ya?

We'll have our child,
don't worry about that.

Anyway when I get back
from this flight I want to

spend time with you. Lots of

Let's just go back to that
inn in Carmelo with the

fireplace, ah, I wanna do all
the good things with you again.

Let's just give ourselves a
break and just be lovers again,

okay? What do you say? And maybe
the child will just come!

I... Whatever happened to phone
booths with privacy?

Anyway look I gotta go get
ready to fly and I just

wanted to say
that I love you. I love you.

And as long as we have
each other, we can't lose.

I love you. I'll be seeing you,

[cars honking,
phone ringing]

Yeah, hello?

Scott? Diane Halstead.

Look I know I woke you up, it's
three o'clock in the morning.

Oh thanks I really
needed to know that.

I'm sorry. I need your help.

Okay. What's up?

I remember you saying that

putting the plane together.

Yeah the airframe
guys are doing that.


Uh, it's in a rented
hangar here in Dayton.

Look cant this wait?

We're all gonna be back
in DC tomorrow night.

But the wreckage
is in Dayton!

I've gotta have
a look at it!

Why? You don't know what to look

- No, but you do.
- Well, no not really.

- You know more than I do.
- That's not the point.

Look the NTSB guys are the
real experts why don't we

just let them
handle it, huh?

Has the board made
a decision yet?

No. But it is going to come out
'pilot error.' And

look, I hate that idea just
as much as you do but

there's no way
around it now.

Then make me believe it. Prove
it to me.

Maybe then I can
get some sleep.

Why me?

Because you're the
only one I've got.

Besides I'm booked
on the next plane.

[directions being shouted]

This held up pretty well.

Well, strongest part
of the airplane.

It's funny what impact will do,
it's so damn capricious.

Remember Switzer?

The fellow they found
wandering around in the field?

- Yeah.
- He was up there, 19 A.

What spared him, I wonder?

And then there's
the dog, of course.

Down in the forward
cargo compartment.

He survived for
almost a week.

He died?

Amazing that he
survived at all.

Oh my god look at this.

Must have been pretty
hot in here, huh?

Yes, mid cargo

Took out the CVR, APU
controls, engine controls,

they all run through here.

Took all of those out,
and about half of the

hydraulic system
running aft.

That would have been
before the crash or after?

We wondered
about that too.

We've got an in-flight
fire here, we said.

Explains everything.

The lost CVR, circuit
breakers popping, and the

control circuits for the
throttles go through here.

Sure, cut the circuit,
cut the fuel right?

And the number 2
engine went dead, we know that.

Sure, an in flight fire!

So that's what happened?

Well then we realized you
see, this is the mid cargo

compartment, which means
a class D compartment.

- That ended it, no fire.
- I don't understand.

A class D compartment is
pressured but there's no

air, no oxygen. Or very little.

And of course no oxygen no fire,
fire feeds on oxygen right?

Too bad, I rather liked
the theory myself.

You see, the controls for
the rudders come through here.

They're cooked too.

Kinda hard to land a
plane without a rudder.

Well wait a minute what if
a fire had gotten started

in there somehow?

Just as impossible.

What an idea, Scott,
an in flight fire!

He's right, it would
explain everything.

These guys built the plane
and they say no fire, why

do you keep pushing it?

You know why.

Fine, have it your way.

What kind of
attitude is that?

Alright look, when I told
you pilot error, you said

- make me believe it.
- Yes and I meant it.

When we get to Washington
tonight I got something to

- show you.
- What?

The flight data recorder is
intact, I think you know that.

The lab used that
information to reconstruct

the last moments of the
flight, got it on a tape.

It's, uh... totally accurate,
and I think you oughta see it.

Approach control this is
ConWest 1501 descending to

three thousand proceeding
direct to the Monitor Airport.

We're painting some fairly
heavy storm cells between

here and the airport.

If you can, request radar
vectors around the activity?

Cells are building
rapidly in all quadrants.

Looks like the softest
spot might be, turn right

heading 0-3-5, descend to and
maintain three thousand, over.

Wait a minute that puts
us right into a big one.

Well we show that to be about
the best heading for you, sir.

Doesn't look
that good to us.

We're gonna maintain
present heading 1-8-0.

Alright, here it comes.

According to our radar
that puts you right in the

middle of the
largest cell.

You sure you're
up to this?

Well I'm gonna have to
go by what we see here.

Ask me when it's over.

Seems to be the best way
to get through this stuff.

Not according
to our radar, but...

You are the captain.

Maintain heading 1-8-0,
you're cleared to land on

runway 1-8.

Flaps 15 landing
gear down.

Something's wrong here, I
don't like the looks of this.

Flight attendants,
take your seats now.

And right here is where
they hit the storm cell.

Oh my god look at that.

Dropped about fifteen
hundred feet there.

Where'd this damn
thing come from?

Hang on, it's -- boy
this is a rough one.

But he's holding it.

Look at him
fly that plane.

This is where they lose
number two engine.

We've lost number two engine!
Damn, too much water!

Maybe not, try
an air start.

See the wing drop.

Lose it how?

Well, I would say it
flooded, too much water.

- Is that possible?
- I've had it happen.

1501, we now show you
in the worst of it.

What are you painting
on your radar?

1501? 1501?

We've got no...



That's it, they're
on the ground.

I don't understand,
why did it....?

Why did it just
roll over like that?

Because Greg failed
to use the rudder.

All he had to do was apply
right rudder to prevent

the roll and that plane
would have landed safely.

Oh that's impossible, he
wouldn't just sit there

and not make a correction!

Look, the flight data
recorder doesn't lie.

Here, see it for yourself.


left engine pulls
down, and...

look see right there?

The rudder stays in a
streamlined position...

all the way through impact.

What was he trying to say?

What was he trying to
say, 'we've got no' what?

No left engine, what
else could it be?

He wouldn't say that, he
doesn't talk like that,

he'd say, 'number 2
failed,' or 'we lost number 2.'

- Hold on now, hold on.
- What did Chadwick say?

What did he say
about the rudder?

About the rudder controls,
they're cooked too?

And you can't land a
plane without a rudder!


Well it's the only thing
that makes sense to me.

You're not being

No rudder.

That's what he
was trying to say.

'We've got no rudder,'
well, couldn't it be??

You're holding
on to nothing.

There was no fire. There
couldn't be a fire.

Don't you think I want it
too, for God's sake I'd

give anything if I could
believe it, but the facts

just don't support it.

How can you say that?

Because flying's my
business, dammit, I know

what I'm talking about.

- And I don't I suppose.
- That's right, you don't.

You are holding on to
an impossible idea.

Because you don't want
to face what happened.

Don't talk to
me like that.

Alright let me give
you my version, okay?

Greg flew through the
tough stuff, the really

tough stuff, and then
apparently, because there

is no other explanation
now, apparently he just

flat lost it. Or he blacked out.

No. That is totally unacceptable
to me.

You're fooling yourself.

There's no way
around it anymore.

There's nothing left
but pilot error!


I admit I had my
doubts but not now.

And no matter what you
think, as far as I'm

concerned, this
investigation is over.

Got some pretty good scotch
inside, what do you think?

Well now I call that an idea!

As long as you promise
not to shoot me.

I asked you to make me
believe it and you did.

- Rocks alright?
- Yeah, fine.

Here we go.

You're taking
this very well.

No, I'm not.

I don't think I've ever
been so wrong in my whole

life, gonna take me a
little while to get used to it.

Here's to the truth.

Whole truth and
nothing but.

What's the matter?

You shouldn't
have said that.

Said what?

Something's bothering me.

There's a loose end. The golden

What about it?

You go through a plane
crash, you're trapped in

the wreckage for days,
and what happened?

I don't know it just died.

Why? What killed it?

At this point, what possible
difference could it make?

Well if we don't know what
killed the dog, we don't

know the whole
truth do we?

Maybe we don't care
what killed the dog.

Come on, not a
little bit curious?

Not one little bit.

For the first time ever
you disappoint me.

Lady, I've walked the last
mile for you and then

some. But this is it.

Right here is
where I get off.

Oh no it's not.

So where is she now?

In the lab with Stanton.

And you actually
autopsied the dog.

Well you tried to say no
to her, where did it get you?

Thanks for lunch,
I'm outta here.

You think this is
funny, don't you?

What did the autopsy say?

- Toxic fumes.
- Isn't that a surprise.

Matter of fact, it was.

What, with all that
burning insulation? Come on.

Precise cause of death
was, and I quote,

'inhalation of sodium
based toxins.' unquote.

- Get that pal? Sodium.
- On an airplane?

Where the hell did
that come from?

Why do you care? You're outta

I am a party to this
investigation, you know.

You know, Scott, you're
a good man, but you're a

little lacking
in, uh, whimsy.

- So where was the dog?
- Let's take a look.

The dog was here, in the
fore cargo compartment.

But the thing is, there
were no sodium products of

any kind in there, where
did they come from?

So we looked in the mid
cargo compartment here, in

pink. Found a variety of things
in there.

Ten cases of bottled
water, sodium free,

miscellaneous items of
hardware, twelve cartons

of computer print out
stock, various other

things all
chemically inert.

And then, we came to this.

Somewhat unidentifiable
flying object, listed in

the manifest only as, quote,
laundry chemicals, unquote.

Bob, Pam, what
have you got?

We may be on to something,
come take a look.

Ah, yes.

Wes, I want you to look at these
witness marks.

See how they run
the length of it?

That indicates that on impact
this was lying on it's side.

Which means its contents
possibly leaked out during

the flight.

Horrible looking mess. What was
in it?

You know that's
what I wondered.

So I called the guy who
shipped it, Wes, right

away he got
feisty with me.

I said to him, oh yeah? Well
fine. I'll be seeing you.

So I flew up to Newark New
Jersey where his plant is.

Ah, I was met
by his lawyer.

Well then I knew I
was onto something.

So I says to his lawyer,
now you listen, we have

federal subpoena power,
do you want to play ball?

- You got an answer.
- You know I did.

What was in it?

Well for one, a ten gallon
polyethylene drum, now I

have a replica over here. It was
filled with H2O2.

Hydrogen Peroxide.

You mean like the
household stuff?

No that would be at a
three percent solution,

this was at fifty
percent strength.

Now, in contact with other
materials, it's a violent

oxidizer that can cause
spontaneous combustion.

Well that can't be
legal on airplanes.

Absolutely not.

No wonder the
guy was feisty.

Now this stuff can release
huge quantities of oxygen.

On top of that, the rest
of the drum was filled

with, and here's the magic word,
sodium orthosilicate.

They filled it in and
packed it down tight.

Pretty corrosive stuff.

Dare I ask, could it
have started a fire?

You'd think so,
wouldn't you?

Not only that but
supply its own oxygen.

Did you hear that Scott?

What do you mean
you would think so?

It doesn't work.


Well, we mixed it together
and nothing happened.

Oh no.

Not exactly true, it generated a
lot of heat and smoke.

But no fire.

Yes, but that only
represents the first flight.

What are you getting at?

That that fiber drum
started off in Newark, was

flown to Washington, sat
there for a day, and then

was loaded onto
flight 1501.

But Wes, the real point
is, that the drum was

lying on it's side which
caused the hydrogen

peroxide to seep out
and soak into the drum.

And then it sat for a
whole day in Washington

- and dried out.
- And the result?

Well, a fifty percent
solution can't start a

fire, but a sixty percent
solution can, so the

question is, how to build up a
sixty percent solution.

Now come around here.

To answer the question, I
had to ask myself, 'what

if it spilt again on flight
1501?' I mean why not?

We know it was on its side, the
witness marks show that.

I assume you've
simulated all of that?

- Of course.
- And?

Well we don't know, yet.

Why not, Bob?


Well you see, these fiber
boards have been soaked in

hydrogen peroxide and
we're just waiting for

them to dry out.

What are you getting at?

- Patience, Wes.
-So let's get on with it.

Give one of them a try.

Maybe this one's ready.

Ah, excuse me,
I'm totally lost.

It's really not all
that complicated.

Just think of this
as the fiber drum.

It's already been soaked
in a fifty percent solution.

Then you let it
dry out, why?

Because that's what happened at
Baltimore Washington.

Yes it dried out, but the
hydrogen peroxide is still

in there, do you see?

At a fifty
percent strength.

Now, I add the sodium
orthosilicate and as we

know, nothing happens.

However, in my hand, I
hold some more of the

fifty percent solution
of you-know-what.

As I simulate the leak...

it slowly soaks
into the cardboard.


We wait, tension mounting.

And theoretically,
somewhere down in that

mess, the concentration
is building from fifty

percent to fifty one, to
fifty two --

[board bursts into flame]

[laughing] Wow! My god, we've
done it!

Not so hasty, let's
see if it tracks.

We did have a fire, it would
start here in the fiber drum.

Okay. Heat rises, so what's

The john.

First thing to go wrong?

Three phase motor and
the john kicks off.

That's right.

Three breakers pop,
wouldn't reset.

Why? The wires melted. What went

Cockpit voice recorder.

And the voice recorder's
circuitry goes right along

with the engine controls.

And the rudder controls
even I know that.

Okay, in this order then:
big hot chemical fire in the

fiber drum, heat rises, three
breakers pop, CVR goes

south, number two engine
flames out and the rudder

- controls sever, they die.
- Well, what do you know.

Does this mean
Greg's off the hook?

Cause of crash: loss of
control due to in flight

fire. Period. Had to be.

Excuse me.

Diane? You alright?


So, another day, another
hot miserable muggy day.

I don't know, I think
it's gonna be beautiful.

You never give up do you?

So where's the press
when you need them, huh?

Well I have a statement
to make anyway.

I was wrong about you
right from the start and

all the way through, I was
wrong and you were right.

I want to apologize.

My, you're taking
this very well.

Yes I am.

You know, Wes Goddard
says that I lack whimsy.

He may be right.

You're a rock, Scott Cody,
don't change a thing.

And you are obstinate,
uncompromising, and

totally impossible. I'm gonna
miss that.

- Thanks for your help.
- Yeah.

I'll see you around.

According to NTSB
officials, in the final

desperate moments of
flight 1501, captain

Gregory Halstead wrestled
heroically with the

controls of an airplane
that was literally burning

out from under him.

While his in flight radar
misdirected him into a

deadly storm cell.

This plane went down,
128 people were killed,

because of one live
electronic equipment

shipped aboard.

Why? To save time. And two?

Deadly illegal compounds
were onloaded labeled only

as quote, laundry
chemicals, unquote.

The only comfort we can
take in this tragedy lies

in it's uniqueness.

It's very oddity assures
us that it can never

happen again.

[uplifting music]